Toys “R” Us today (Wednesday) announced it is expanding front-of-store offerings to include everything from paper goods to light snacks to laundry detergent.
For a company that has made a big business of indexing third-party websites, a substantial part of Google's display success hinges on its ability to milk YouTube and its other owned and operated properties such as Gmail and Google Finance.
Forever 21 Inc. is set to open a massive new store in New York's Times Square on Friday, the latest and most aggressive step in the low-priced fashion retailer's plan to expand from a clothing boutique into a department store. The privately held, Los Angeles-based company is expanding aggressively at a time when most retailers are holding back or downsizing, a move enabled in large part by the recession.
Facebook is looking east for its next phase of expansion, as it prepares to take on entrenched competition in China, Russia and Japan and become the first social network company to connect 1bn people. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of the world’s largest social network, said that after relying largely on organic growth to reach almost 500m members, Facebook would soon begin to make its first strategic local moves.
In retail, success comes with a curse. A long line of retailers have been tempted into rapid store growth to maximize sales, only to hit a wall and need to shrink. Starbucks may be the best example. It likely set a record for the fastest long-term expansion of any big retailer. Morgan Stanley's John Glass says Starbucks added U.S. stores at an annual 27% rate from 1995 to 2005, reaching almost 12,000. That is even faster than the 17% rate of McDonald's from 1965 to 1975.
Today marks yet another important era in Facebook’s saga, they are expected to make a big push to extend the Facebook experience to every webpage. Today, I’ll be attending the f8 developer conference hosted by Facebook, they’re anticipated to make some key announcements around new programs for developers to take part in. I’ll be live blogging from the keynote, and will give my take on what it means.
With about half of Facebook’s 400 million users checking in daily, the social networking company has established itself as one of the Web’s most popular destinations. Now Facebook is intensifying its efforts to expand its empire beyond its Web site; the company wants to turn scores of sites across the Internet into satellites where users will be able to interact with their Facebook friends.
Taco Bell is off to a promising start in India, with thousands of customers visiting the American fast-food chain's first Indian outlet daily, even though most have never tasted a taco. Encouraged by strong growth at its KFC and Pizza Hut chains in India, Yum Brands Inc. opened its first Taco Bell in Bangalore on March 16. The store in a mall in India's technology capital has attracted an average of 2,000 to 2,500 customers each day since then.
America's National Basketball Association has ambitious plans for Europe: arenas in London, Paris, Madrid or Milan; permanent teams here within the next decade. First, it's shooting for a more familiar target: increasing its overseas revenue. The NBA and sportswear giant Adidas AG will today announce an extension to their existing partnership that will see the brand become the league's official apparel supplier in Europe. The deal means Adidas, which is already the league's official uniform supplier, now has full world-wide rights for NBA apparel.
Fresh off announcing an unusually strong Q4 and full-year 2009 (particularly by current restaurant industry standards), Chipotle Mexican Grill is looking to build on the momentum with a new marketing campaign to launch in Q2, a new rewards program and new packaging -- not to mention expansion into Europe. For 2009 overall, the fast-casual chain reported revenue up 14% (to $1.52 billion), net income up 62% (to $126.8 million) and diluted EPS up 67% (to $3.95). The sales gain reflected both revenue from 121 new stores opened during '09 and comparable-store sales growth of 2.2% (including a 2% gain in Q4). Like other chains, Chipotle saw some traffic fall-off, but comp-store sales grew as a result of menu price increases instituted in 2008.
Retailer hhgregg Inc., long a Midwest consumer electronics star, is moving aggressively to capitalize on cheaper rents during the economic downturn by building a nation-wide presence to challenge much bigger rival Best Buy Co. The Indianapolis company will open 40 to 45 stores in the Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas in coming months as part of a broader plan to expand to 600 stores this decade from 127 currently. In some cases it is getting cut-rate rentals on locations once held by Circuit City Stores Inc., which closed last year.
It happened last year, around the first of July. In my experience, the switch was just about that abrupt. All last spring, most senior business leaders I met shrugged off the business applicability of Web 2.0. Allowing access to social networks in the workplace was something they were willing to consider only if it was absolutely necessary to keep younger employees from complaining. Twitter? What was that? But by summer, the conversations I was having with senior executives about the use of these new technologies took on a very different tone. Recognition grew that 2.0 technologies could be used to change the way work gets done in fundamental ways. Interest in exploring these new ways of working, of sharing information, of collaborating to enhance productivity and meet business goals, was here.
In a sign that Google is interested in broadening its reach among local businesses, the search giant is in acquisition talks with Yelp, the review site for local businesses, according to three people with knowledge of the deal. The two companies have had conversations for several years, but a more serious round of acquisition talks began two months ago, one of the people said late Thursday. The companies have discussed a price and are negotiating the details, but have not yet signed an agreement.
Amazon.com Inc. is quietly expanding its private-label business in a bid to diversify away from its online bookstore roots and become more like a general retailer. The latest sign: The Seattle-based e-commerce giant -- known for high-tech innovations like one-click checkout and the Kindle e-reader -- last month received a U.S. design patent for a wooden chopping block. The $24.99 Pinzon bamboo cutting board is being sold as part of a line of Amazon's own kitchen products on its Web site. It features two surfaces, one flat and the other curved. A curved blade, designed for chopping herbs, is stored inside the block. In June Amazon launched a new collection of private-label kitchen utensils, designed by Seattle Chef Tom Douglas and sold under his name. Amazon won't disclose any other patent applications, but says it is always evaluating opportunities to patent the designs it develops for private-label products.
Procter & Gamble has embarked on what it's calling "the most ambitious expansion plan in company history" - an aggressive campaign that will extend the reach of the consumer goods company into some of the world's poorest countries.